All Questions

144
votes
18answers
87k views

Why use story points instead of hours for estimating?

After using hours to estimate our projects for a long time and rarely coming within 20% of actual "work-to-ship," I have been told by a handful of people that "points" work a lot better at gauging the ...
110
votes
14answers
12k views

How to Avoid Micro-Managing a Software Development Team? [closed]

I've managed a few projects over the last few years, and one of the biggest challenges I face is avoiding becoming a micro-manager. I worked with a team once where I worked with a group of software ...
89
votes
9answers
37k views

How to estimate amount of work/man hours for an unfamiliar task?

Sooner or later we come across a task in our project, with which we are totally unfamiliar ('we' as in PM, but also possibly the staff assigned to do this particular task). How can we estimate ...
82
votes
9answers
79k views

Why would teams use the Fibonacci sequence for story points?

Why do some teams use numbers from the Fibonacci sequence as story points? Is it just a preference, or is there something more to it?
75
votes
11answers
22k views

Why can't the ScrumMaster and the project manager be the same person?

How a ScrumMaster does compare to a traditional project manager, and can either role coincide with the role of product manager or project sponsor / project owner?
70
votes
14answers
90k views

When to Use Waterfall, When to Use Scrum ?

Where I lecture, I was always taught to use waterfall to manage projects, but when I finished college, waterfall wasn't the only method that can be used for project management, and I am very ...
68
votes
22answers
21k views

How technical should a Project Manager be?

Consider a software project involving a bunch of developers of mixed experience. The PM has the delivery responsibility for the project, but undertakes this through the team members. When the ...
64
votes
10answers
4k views

Minimum Project Management Practices for One-Man Software Projects

I've worked a lot on projects by myself -- "one man" projects. These are typically small projects in the software domain. Many of them have no customers other than myself (who actually use the end ...
61
votes
7answers
98k views

What is the weighting difference between Epic/Story/Task

I am slightly confused between the three. From my understanding: Epic - Create a web site (T shirt size) (L) Story - Create the Home page (1 point) Task - Create a button on the home page that is ...
60
votes
18answers
7k views

What are the biggest mistakes that new project managers make?

Getting started in the role of project manager is not always easy. Are there some common mistakes that you see newer project managers making that can be avoided (e.g. trying to take on too much ...
58
votes
7answers
18k views

How to deal with unavoidable on-demand tasks in Scrum? Or should we even try?

I was put in charge of implementing Scrum in my Development Team. Unfortunately, the company I work with has a rather stale structure that does not go well with this framework. The team works on a ...
58
votes
5answers
5k views

Is Scrum a status report meeting or a developer meeting?

I'm a developer and we started using Agile last year (October 2011). And, it has been rough to say the least. I was always taught Scrum was to discuss the following: What you did yesterday What you ...
53
votes
18answers
16k views

Is it sound project management practice to make software engineers fix bugs “off the clock”?

I work in a largish, multi-team software development shop that builds a vertical B2B solution suite for a highly regulated domain. We are trying to become more Agile; we are iterating better than we ...
50
votes
20answers
10k views

Employee gave themselves very negative self-evaluation - how to handle the situation?

I have an employee who was put under my supervision this year after being a supervisor of another team for a trial period that failed.In addition he is the longest serving employee at the unit. He did ...
49
votes
25answers
27k views

How do I measure employee (software developer) performance based on bugs created?

I am trying to implement KPI for employees of my company. One of the KPI have listed is the quality of code, as measured by bugs created by developers. Now my problem is: I am planning to give 40 ...
46
votes
4answers
15k views

What is kanban?

I'm curious as to what kanban is. I just learned about it seconds ago reviewing another question. (a) What is involved that would consider it Kanban? (b) Also how does it different from other ...
46
votes
4answers
13k views

Kanban, moving items back? Or how do you manage mistakes?

Given that you have a feature tracking through your Kanban board, the dev marks it done, it's pulled into QA, and the dev pulls in new work. QA fails the item. Now what? You can't move it back into ...
45
votes
19answers
49k views

How to deal with a team member who keeps missing deadlines?

What techniques I could use after I discover that one of my team members keep agreeing on time lines, but he does not communicate he will not meet those dates until the 11th hour (I mean just before ...
44
votes
15answers
74k views

Where to Find a Desktop Kanban board application? [closed]

I have been looking for a week now, all over the net for a simple desktop based kanban management system. I work in a distributed team, but my company won't accept to use an exterior webapp like ...
43
votes
16answers
7k views

What are the signs of an incompetent project manager? [closed]

Responses to this are likely to be subjective but I ask of you not "to vent" against your current/ex manager and instead respond to what you think is a managers failing point (or points). I think ...
40
votes
40answers
11k views

What is the Project Management book that left the most impact on you?

If you could recommend a single book that made you a better PM, which one would it be?
39
votes
7answers
9k views

Why do all the teams that I have worked with always finish a sprint without completion of all the stories?

I am developer, I have worked with three Agile teams for the last eight years, with different organisations. The organisations have had a mix of Scrum, Kanban & Lean Startup Mindsets. I have ...
38
votes
22answers
36k views

Is it bad manners or practice to request “Read Receipt” to all mails sent from my account?

I'm working as PM, we have developers and senior managers working remotely and in-house. As a project manager, I'm at the center of all communications. The job of managing N lines of communication ...
38
votes
14answers
19k views

Should bugs be treated as stories or as tasks?

If you're using scrum you should know that there is a clear difference between tasks and stories. A story is something that is valuable to user. A task is a step to produce that value to user. So, ...
36
votes
7answers
9k views

Daily standup vs. Micro-management

Why isn't the daily scrum considered to be micromanagement? Under any other circumstances expecting to get a daily update from developers would be considered micromanagement. Maybe even pico-...
36
votes
7answers
149k views

PMP vs PRINCE2 - Why one rather than the other?

What are the reasons why a project manager should select PMP certification rather than Prince 2, or vice versa? Are they complementary or competing?
36
votes
4answers
3k views

How do you convince a client to use Agile Methods?

Here's the thing: In agile, client has very important role to fulfill - if they aren't involved, agile loses much of its value. How do you convince clients to change the way they run projects, ...
36
votes
7answers
29k views

What's the best definition and explanation of project risk?

I've had trouble in the past explaining project risk to non-PMs. For me the key element I struggle to get people to accept is that a risk is something outside the control of those on the project (...
35
votes
11answers
3k views

How can I avoid team burnout?

I work for a small web company that deals with a lot of projects, a few at any given time are development heavy for us (400-1500 hours or more) and I've been noticing developers get extremely burnt ...
35
votes
8answers
3k views

Strict or pragmatic Scrum?

Do you practice Scrum strictly after its rules or are you going a more pragmatic way, picking out the bits that suit you/your environment best, maybe mixing it up with other methodologies ? In other ...
34
votes
8answers
7k views

What is the ongoing value of the Kanban board to the developers as opposed to management

I want to understand what others believe is the ongoing value of a Kanban board to the development team I got into an argument recently at my small company because A) My dev team isn't properly ...
33
votes
14answers
10k views

Is imposing “impossible deadlines” a Management Technique?

I am a developer aiming to become a manager. I want to know if the following is a valid management technique (within reasonable parameters, to be determined), I want to know how to deal with it and to ...
33
votes
16answers
46k views

How long should an Agile Sprint be?

I'm currently the PM on a project that is scheduled to run for about 14 months. The current sprint structure is 4 weeks of development; week 5 allows us to show the progress to the client, deploy it ...
32
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I manage team distractions like chit-chat?

I work with a team of developers who are talented but often distract each other with chit-chat. They can waste hours of the day with these 20-30 minute, non-project related jam sessions. Since I am PM ...
31
votes
14answers
13k views

Why does management have to “buy into” Scrum?

I have read over and over that in order for Scrum to work, "Management has to buy into Scrum." Can you tell me why that is? What management are they talking about, the company stakeholders that have ...
31
votes
17answers
2k views

How to allow developers to get enough quality development time while keeping to support & maintenance obligations

I work for a small company of 6 multi-skilled developers where we have developed our own product which requires constant improvement but also maintenance and support, both for the current release from ...
31
votes
10answers
3k views

How do you deal with continuous work pressure?

I'm working as a QA for software product development. During the course of our meetings we typically discuss what tasks we are going to do and provide an estimate for each task. My manager has a habit ...
30
votes
14answers
7k views

Do projects ever end early?

When scheduling, I tend to add a lot of reality into the guestimates I am provided with. I always add in generous amounts of probable sick days for manpower and extra time for integration and bug ...
30
votes
9answers
4k views

Project is late, how should PM act?

There's a project where: In the middle of project it is already late Initial estimates were done by development team It looks like estimates were too optimistic Development team says it's client who ...
29
votes
10answers
35k views

What's the difference between Scope Creep vs Scope Change?

Not a beginner question. I've seen too many otherwise competent PM's that don't know the difference, and I'm curious how others define it. Bear in mind, Scope Creep and Gold-plating are not the same ...
29
votes
9answers
888 views

Should a PM also be a resource on the project? Why?

we have a small team of highly technical people and one of them is the project manager for the project. The person who is in PM role for this project is experienced and has previous project management ...
29
votes
7answers
5k views

How to go about taking over a failing project?

I work for a pretty small company employing less than 150 people, for the last 35 years this company has never had any sort of project managers and every project that they have had has always come ...
29
votes
4answers
68k views

Which Scrum certification provider is most widely recognized or accepted?

I am planning to go for Scrum Master certification, and while researching the certification providers, I could not clearly make up my mind about which one was most widely accepted. There are two ...
28
votes
12answers
1k views

How do I stop going over my estimates?

I consistently underestimate my work. I'm gaining a bad reputation for it. I want to get past it. I think the main problem is that I don't fully outline every step that needs to be taken. The first ...
28
votes
5answers
1k views

Responsibility without authority

Project Managers almost never have a direct reporting relationship with the team members assigned to their project, but remain accountable for the project outcome. What are some effective ways of ...
28
votes
10answers
841 views

How can I get my team to value self-organization and self-improvement?

I'm working as a project leader in a team of 5 developers and myself and taking the role of analyst. Within the company, we've been applying the agile principles for several years. Some of the ...
28
votes
5answers
5k views

Do technical leaders compete with project managers?

Technical leaders in our projects are competing with project managers. Or in more general aspect, is it a problem if someone with greater domain specific knowledge tends to dominate in project or ...
27
votes
13answers
9k views

How many project managers are needed to change a lightbulb? [closed]

How many project managers are needed to change a lightbulb? P.S. Guys, it is April Fool's Day, so don't be so serious with "off-topic" ;-) I will delete this question tomorrow.
27
votes
9answers
37k views

What is the difference between Project and Product Management?

From a cursory survey, they appear extremely similar. Is this the case? Other than Projects tending to be short-term and Products tending to be ongoing endeavours, is there a difference in the two? ...
27
votes
8answers
10k views

De-scope vs push back timeline vs overtime?

When it becomes apparent that your project is running behind, what considerations should be made when deciding to cut scope, push back the timeline, or ask for overtime? Or is it purely up to the ...

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